EKRE MP bought 243 liters of taxpayer-funded fuel on last day in office

Urmas Reitelmann (EKRE) at the XIV Riigikogu.
Urmas Reitelmann (EKRE) at the XIV Riigikogu. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP took advantage of a fuel station payment card issued to Riigikogu members, to top up a total of 243 liters of diesel, just hours before his powers as an MP ceased, evening paper Õhtuleht writes.

Õhtuleht reports (link in Estonian) that Urmas Reitelmann, who sat at the XIV Riigikogu but did not win a seat at the March 5 election, had used a fuel card provided as a privilege to MPs, hours before the XIV Riigikogu's powers were terminated at the end of last month, ie. just before his mandate ceased.

MPs are offered taxpayer-funded cards for Alexela and Olerex filling stations, for the purpose of filling up their own vehicle in order to perform official duties.

Since a regular car, even with a larger engine, would not have a fuel tank even approaching 243 liters in capacity, Õhtuleht inquired as to the details and why such a large purchase was made at the last minute, but Reitelmann, instead of answering the Õhtuleht journalist, hurled abuse at them.

A recording of the phone call by the Õhtuleht journalist who contacted Reitelmann reveals the-then MP told the caller to kiss their posterior, and then called them an "idiot" (Estonian: Keri perse, idioot).

EKRE's deputy chair, former Riigikogu speaker Henn Põlluaas, conceded that no car has a fuel tank which could accommodate the volume of diesel Reitelmann purchased, using taxpayer funds, adding that the former MP had "gone too far" in his actions.

The original Õhtuleht article (in Estonian) is here.

This is not the first time in recent years Reitelmann has lashed out at journalists. While he sat as EKRE's representative on the supervisory board of public broadcaster ERR, he referred to ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" presenters Marko Reikop and Grete Lõbu as "sodomites", in a subsequently-deleted social media post.

Reitelmann ran in the March 5 Riigikogu elections, garnering 1,520 votes in the Haabersti, Põhja Tallinn and Kristiine electoral district – an insufficient tally to win a seat. In 2019, he polled at 2,585 votes and did take a Riigikogu seat. He is currently a member of Tallinn City Council.

On March 31, the day the XIV Riigikogu's powers were terminated, Reitelmann had complained on the same social media account that he had not been able to obtain even more fuel from the gas station, after being cut off at around 7 p.m., he claimed. Parliament's powers were ended at midnight.

 His post stated that: "A spectacular experience, of a sustainable state. The previous Riigikogu composition's mandate ends today at midnight. I had been refueling the car using the parliamentary charge card, just a minute before 7 p.m. At exactly 7 p.m., the gas station stopped dispensing fuel. So this wasn't a major saving, but still a few euros. The parliament's office had announced earlier in the day that all cards would be valid until midnight. Why does this government now leave me with a bad taste in my mouth, and in absolute disgust?"

In office at the time was the Reform-Isamaa-SDE coalition.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Mirjam Mäekivi

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